Measure strengthens “Buy America;” Keeps interest rates for students affordable
(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today praised President Barack Obama as he signed a transportation funding bill that that will ensure more good jobs for American workers.
The bill, which passed both houses of Congress on Friday with bipartisan support, allows for more than $100 billion to be spent on highway, mass transit and other transportation programs through 2014, and will create or sustain three million jobs while also avoiding a huge rate increase on student loans for nearly 7 million college students.
“By signing this bill, President Obama shows that he is continuing to stand up for good, middle-class jobs and affordable education for all Americans,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Rebuilding our transportation infrastructure means we are creating jobs, we are supporting manufacturing, and we are keeping pace with our global competitors.”
The new law also strengthens “Buy America” provisions by adding much-needed transparency for those seeking to waive the Buy America preferences and also by limiting a long-time loophole to make sure that highway projects receiving federal funds can no longer be divided into smaller contracts to end run the application of Buy America, thus ensuring that the transportation projects are completed using American-made iron, steel and manufactured goods.
“Especially since we just celebrated our nation’s birthday, we should remember that ‘Buy America’ laws like this are an investment in American companies, American workers, and the American economy,” Gerard said.
The Senate approved the measure 74-19 and the House by a vote of 373-52. Republicans cast every “no” vote in both chambers.
“It’s unfortunate that we still have a group of 71 hard-line Republicans who will stand in the way of progress no matter what the cost to the American people,” Gerard said. “It’s clear by this vote that the right wing of the Republican Party is way out of the mainstream and does not have the best interests of American families at heart.”
The USW represents about 850,000 working men and women in the United States and Canada in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glass making to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber and other manufacturing environments, to the public sector, service and health care industries.
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